If you're looking to buy Bitcoin on your mobile phone, there's an app for that. No, another one. No, a newer one. And this one’s got the backing of Twitter’s co-founder, Biz Stone.
Mode, the Stone-backed app for Bitcoin banking, is now available on iOS in UK and other countries (but not the US).
App users can transfer £50 to get started, then begin buying and selling Bitcoin. Mode charges a 0.99% fee for each buy/sell transaction and nothing for transferring pounds into or out of accounts.
Mode is headed up by Jonathan Rowland, a veteran banking executive, who is also chairman and CEO of R8 group, a UK-based fintech company. Notably, Biz Stone is a director of R8 and a strategic advisor for Mode.
Stone's attachment to the project is enough to warrant it a second look: The man with the greatest name in tech is like the Forrest Gump of 21st-century startups. He worked for Google on its Blogger platform. He co-founded Twitter, then Medium. His Jelly search engine was bought by Pinterest in 2017. More recently, Stone joined the board of Beyond Meat, a company whose synthetic beef and chicken has been selling out in McDonald's and KFC restaurants.
The latest version of Mode, 1.145, was released on February 2 after version 1.0 came out in late November 2019. (The company is taking signups for an Android version that's being developed.) In a company press release, Head of Communications and Marketing Ariane Murphy said the app had been piloted up into January by about 1,000 early subscribers, whose feedback was "very positive."
Said Murphy, "This, coupled with the strong growth in the marketplace, means we are confident that now is the right time to launch to the wider [public]."
Stone acknowledged the marketplace already has multiple solutions for buying crypto but said, "Most of the current apps all have one problem at their core—access." He asserted that Mode represented an improvement by doing away with "needlessly complex processes."
That jibes with the company's internal research; it said 41% of digital asset owners who responded to its survey "described the process of transacting Bitcoin through existing solutions as average or poor." Mode stated an account can be opened in under a minute and that completing Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements takes less than two.
R8—and Stone—are likely hoping that Mode gets as much traction as Twitter, but they'd probably settle for AOL's (mysterious) staying power. Didn't you know? Stone was a strategic adviser there, too.